Breezer Uptown 8 — First Impressions

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we took delivery of a Breezer Uptown 8 for testing. The folks at Breezer were kind enough to let us hang onto the bike for a couple months so we could really get a good feel for it. I’m not quite ready for the full review (that should appear here in a couple weeks), but I wanted to share some of my first impressions with you.


Overwhelmingly at the top of my list is that despite the Breezer’s complexity — it is absolutely loaded down with every bell and whistle a commuter could possibly ask for — riding it is utter simplicity.

Say what? Look, it’s like this: this is a bike you simply jump on and go…no checking whether lights were installed or left on the kitchen counter at home, no running out of battery power midway through a ride, no rolling up pants legs or using one of those trouser clips, no funny “clickety-clack” shoes, no chain maintenance and no worrying about the delicate shifter parts getting gummed up or knocked out of place. Simply step through the frame, flip the switch to activate the generator-powered lights and off you ride! This is INCREDIBLY liberating…what was once a task of a few minutes getting any of my other bikes ready to go (lights, batteries, tires, lube, pants/cuff/shoes) has been whittled down to, “got enough pressure in the tires? Good enough.” I am sold on the concept of hub generators and since I started riding the Breezer, I’ve been fantasizing about equipping all my other commuter bikes with them.


We’ve tested a number of bikes with internally-geared hubs on in the past, so there’s nothing new to report with the Breezer and its Nexus Premium 8-speed rear hub. It works nearly flawlessly, can be shifted at a standstill or under load and allows Breezer to spec a full chaincase — not just a chainguard — to seal the chain away from the elements. I’ve heard tales of Breezer owners going for several years without ever servicing their chains.


Riding the Breezer is comfortable and stable, with the upright stance typical of this class of city bike. Everything fits and feels just right. You won’t be setting any speed records aboard the Uptown 8, but then again it wasn’t designed for such riding. Things are looking good for the long term!

Please stay tuned for the full-scale review, which should be along shortly. In the meantime, check out Breezer’s urban lineup by visiting their website.


  1. Cecily February 23, 2011 11:21 pm 

    Thanks for this review! I currently ride a Batavus Fryslan around town, and while I love it, I have been dreaming of a (slightly) lighter bike with similar features that I could add to my stable. The Breezer might just fit the bill.

    I look forward to your detailed review.

  2. Dacius February 24, 2011 5:53 am 

    I love my SoHo with it’s internal gears. It is just a simple and efficient set up. While I think my model is better suited for speed. I gotta appreciate a bike a company that is making a bike solely with the commuter in mind.

  3. Jennifer S. February 24, 2011 9:03 am 

    Last summer when I was bike shopping, I was interested in this bike but couldn’t find one in my area to test ride. I ended up getting a Globe Live 2 Mixte, which I’m really happy with, but I would love a dynamo hub and an enclosed chain case like this Breezer.

  4. Graham February 24, 2011 9:05 am 

    Which commuter do they have in mind is always my question. My 20 mile round trip on this bicycle would be uncomfortable and unacceptably slow.

    If the Bicycle Gods are listening, PLEASE begin thinking about quicker bicycles with commuter coolness built in! I thought that the IGH road bike featured here a while back was a step in the right direction, but maybe those folks are just way ahead of the pack on this.

    I’m not trying to come off as a snob or a “my way is better” kind of guy, but I just keep waiting and waiting for that “long distance” commuter bike. Fingers crossed!

  5. harry krishna February 24, 2011 9:39 am 

    good review, even though i’m already sold on it. i’m actually sold on the breezer uptown infinity. but like jennifer, finding one to test ride is not happening. being a geezer, i refuse to accept the “lesser” model.

  6. Ghost Rider February 24, 2011 10:33 am 

    @Graham, these bikes are aimed directly at the urban commuter market…no long-haulers need apply (as I will address in the formal review). The Dynamic Synergy was definitely a step in the right direction as far as quicker commuter-friendly machines are concerned, and in fact they were kicking around the idea of adding that shifter/hub setup to a more touring-oriented steel frame. I haven’t checked in with them lately to see how that project was coming along, though.

    One aspect I think is keeping bike companies from building a speedier long-haul bike with all the desired commuty bells and whistles is final price — it’s unfortunate that too many U.S. bike buyers balk at bike prices in the $2000 range — unless, of course, they’re buying a carbon wonderbike for recreational purposes. People who would understand and appreciate a fairly expensive commuting bike are but a tiny segment of the U.S. bike market, in my experience, and such a bike as you dream about WOULD be up there in price (IGH and dynamo hubs aren’t cheap).

  7. Johnny K February 24, 2011 11:00 am 

    @Ghost Rider, The Synergy is on sale right now for $999 I know when I was looking at bikes to buy for commuting I decided to go cheap because first what if I decided it was too much for me then I would not be out much money. Second what if it gets stolen. and Third the pounding that commuter bikes take you would hate to spend $2000 just to beat it to death. At least these are the reasons I would not go over $1000 for a commuter bike. I perfer to only spend about $600. Half the cost of my bike is the accessories while the other half was the bike itself.

  8. Ghost Rider February 24, 2011 11:12 am 

    @Johnny K — good points. I’m not a huge fan of spending so much on a bike, either, because it does take some abuse. But, it is still an investment and sometimes quality costs extra.

    It’s funny, though: a lot of people don’t think twice about spending $20k or $30k on a car, and then they beat it to death in stop-n-go driving…when it’s time for a trade-in, it is worth a tiny fraction of the original purchase price. And, that doesn’t take into account all the expensive maintenance, consumables, insurance and licensing fees. When all is said and done, someone who spent 20 grand on a car really paid like $40k for about 5 or 6 years worth of use. Meanwhile, with some routine maintenance and replacement of consumable parts such as tires, cables and brake pads, a good bike can last for 20 years or more (I own three bikes made in the early 70s and the early 80s, and all three are just as rideable as the day they rolled off the factory floor.

  9. 2whls3spds February 27, 2011 5:53 am 

    LOL @ Shanyn…those Twenty’s can be a real money pit. I love the way yours turned out! I have several (4 I think) and am always pondering what to do next.

    Do you have any clue where to buy just the chain case for a Breezer? I am betting it would fit on my Redline R530 that I have upgraded.

    Breezer was on my short list of bikes when I was looking at the R530, however I could not find one to look at.


  10. Ghost Rider February 27, 2011 6:01 am 

    Aaron, I’ve not seen a chaincase available separately other than the Pashley (which is reported not to play nice with a Nexus hub):

    You may consider contacting a Breezer dealer (difficult, I know…not a whole lot of them out there) and seeing if they can scrounge one up for you to try. Or contact one of the Dutch bike dealers…I believe there’s a good one in Chicago…and they might have some solutions.

  11. Joseph E February 28, 2011 5:42 pm 

    @ 2whls3spds Re: Breezer Chaincase:

    The Breezer Uptown chaincase looks the same now as my 2009 model. It attaches in front with a bracket that hooks onto the bottom bracket, so your BB and crank have to be the right size. But in back it has a mounting system that seems specially designed to go with the bike (or is it the other way around?), with a braze-on attachment on the chainstay. You can get it as a replacement part, but it’s not normally sold as a separate part.

    It would be difficult to using this chaincase on a bike that was not designed for it. Now, the Redline 530 (now Torker t530) comes with a chaincase, but unless it has the same chainstay length, same attachment points and cranks and bottom bracket, I would not guarantee it working.

  12. Marie | Green Your Apartment March 8, 2011 4:00 am 

    I’ve been dreaming enviously of a bike that did all it should and could but that I could just hop on and go. Now my only remaining question is do you think it could handle a bike trailer to pull my daughter in?

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